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Match Reports

Forest Green 3 City 3

Late drama at the New Lawn sets up FA Cup replay

2 December 2017

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Exeter City set up an FA Cup replay with Forest Green Rovers after a pulsating 3-3 draw at the New Lawn.

After Christian Doidge had given the home side the lead, City fought back with goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jayden Stockley, before Rovers rallied to lead 3-2 but for a late Stockley header in a match which saw three very late goals.

Match report sponsored by Speedy Freight

The Grecians made one change to the side that started the 2-0 win against Accrington Stanley last week with Troy Brown, who went off injured in that match, replaced by Troy Archibald-Henville who came in to play alongside Pierce Sweeney and Jordan Moore-Taylor in a defensive back three.

The home side had the first real chance of the match on 11 minutes when the ball was played centrally to striker, Doidge, who turned well to drive at the City back four before shooting from distance, forcing Christy Pym into a smart save down low.

But it was the Grecians who were seeing more of the ball in the opening period and they almost found the net shortly after Doidge’s attempt when a good cross from Pierce Sweeney met the head of Liam McAlinden, who tried to flick his effort towards goal, but was unable to keep it on target.

Pym was then forced into another save from a distant attempt after Rovers retrieved the ball from their free-kick which had been cleared before Scott Laird unleashed a powerful effort, but again Pym was equal to it.

Rovers then took the lead on 25 minutes when a precise ball through the middle from Reece Brown found its way behind the City defence and Doidge did well to finish coolly through the legs of the onrushing Pym, giving the home side the advantage.

Jake Taylor then had an excellent chance to level the tie on 32 minutes when the Grecians broke well through McAlinden’s pace, before the forward found Taylor unmarked, but as the City number 25 went to shoot, Laird made a crucial recovery to poke the ball away.

Jayden Stockley then had two headers in two minutes at goal, with the former saved comfortably by Bradley Collins, before a lofted cross from McAlinden to his strike partner saw Stockley fail to hit the target as the ball nestled wide meaning the Grecians would go into the break trailing.

It was Rovers who created the first chance of the second half when Brown broke at pace and threaded the ball through to Doidge, but this time from a tight angle, Pym did well to save from the Forest Green number 9.

The duel continued between Doidge and Pym, and on two occasions, the City keeper did brilliantly to keep the score at 1-0.

But the Grecians did well to ride out that spell of pressure and they levelled things on 57 minutes through captain, Moore-Taylor.

After his corner was blocked, Lloyd James collected the ball to cross towards the far post and Moore-Taylor rose excellently to nod the ball past Collins.

Just a few minutes later, the Grecians took the lead after good play on the left when Hiram Boateng played a fantastic cross in towards Stockley who guided the ball into the far corner.

Credit to City, who showed a great deal of resilience after riding out spells of home pressure, but substitutes Ryan Harley and Reuben Reid both did excellently in the latter stages of the half as the Grecians looked to hold onto the ball and frustrate Rovers.

Reid almost grabbed City’s third goal on 83 minutes after finding space on the left-hand side before curling a shot towards the far corner, but for Collins who made a strong save to deny the City forward.

But Mark Cooper’s men continued to battle on, and they levelled things late on through Scott Laird. After initial good hold up play from Doidge, which caused a scramble in the City box, Laird was on hand to nod the ball in from close range.

A pulsating final few minutes saw both sides look for the win, and with City looking to score from a corner, they left themselves vulnerable as the home team broke at speed and Doidge again finished coolly to give Rovers, what they thought, was the winner.

But that wasn’t it, just seconds after conceding the Grecians went back up the other end and Stockley did brilliantly to win a header in a crowded box to nod in and level the tie to set up a replay at St James Park.

Forest Green Rovers: Collins, Bennett, Laird, Collins, Doidge, Brown (Stevens, 81), Bugiel (Gomes, 65), Wishart, Iacovitti, Roberts, James

Subs not used: Russell, Cooper, Randall

Booked:

Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, James, Archibald-Henville (Harley, 55), Stockley, Moore-Taylor, McAlinden (Reid, 78) Moxey, Wilson (Tillson, 65), Taylor, Boateng

Subs not used: Hamon, Woodman, Jay, Edwards

Booked: Boateng

Attendance: 2,250 (Inc, 897, away)


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